A former Aviation Minister, essayist and one time Special Assistant to a former President, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode has now shed more light on unpopular circumstances surrounding his brief alliance with APC a few years back and revealing the good reasons behind his actions.
The orator had been accused of being a serial cross-party candidate during the interview session with a presenter, which he boldly clarifies in simple terms by pointing out what makes him tick as a political strategist.
“Let me start by asking your definition of the word serial, because for around 20 years that I’ve been in politics, I mean in the same party have been in PDP since 2002, which I joined initially right up till the end, except for one occasion.”
He made to clarify by citing cases of actual serial cross partying and why his movement doesn’t warrant being tagged “serial party crosser”
“I was in APC for 9 months and sure I went back. It’s not 2 crossings, simply one crossing and I went back home. In almost 20 years of being in a party, I went to another party for another 9 months and I went back to my party, so that’s the first thing we have to make clear. Now if you want to talk about serial party crossers, please direct this topic to people like Bola Tinubu, El Rufai, Saraki and others.
They are the ones that come and go. And if I choose to go to another party tomorrow I have my reasons. I don’t join political parties simply because I want to be on the winning side. I don’t leave political parties simply because the weather is changing and I’ve changed my mind. I chose to leave PDP at the time of which there was a damn good reason for it. And I told the president at the time why I left.”
Fani-Kayode, in clear terms narrated the situation behind his supposed serial party crossing, which he blames on the inadequate representation of the S/West
“I left Because the representation of the S/West- Yoruba people weren’t enough within that party at the time and also I thought Boko Haram was not being fought enough and nine months later after being on the other side for a while, I realized what was brewing and unlike many others, after recognizing the fact that this was a party formation that was not gonna work well for Nigeria, changed my mind and decided to try and fix the problems within PDP. Which we did because when I came back we gained far more representation for Yorubas in the PDP and decided to go back to the field. There was anybody in the S/west at that time who was in APC, yet we managed to get 49% of the vote for PDP in the 2015 elections for Jonathan. I’m very happy about that”
Speaking on his adventures as a political activist with influence across major sectors, Fani-Kayode stressed how his activities and lending his voice has helped shape the nation’s course in recent years, citing various communities that have benefited and what it takes to be a statesman.
“Many people refused to say a word, many of the cowards talking today refused to talk or speak or criticize President Buhari for 5 years. From day 1 I started and went on right up until very recently, criticizing him every day. Now that’s, not a serial party crosser. That is a consistent man.
I’m so consistent because I’m telling the opposition right now if you want to know. To your question between PDP and APC, now as we speak there’s very little distinction between both parties. There is no distinction between the two of them and I’ll tell you this if you have fundamental issues, values and core principles it becomes very difficult to know precisely where you stand because if you say you’re in PDP because you believe in restructuring, you have to ask are they ready to restructure, the answer probably will be we don’t know what you mean. The same with APC. As for me, you know what I do? I interact with individuals and interact with people I believe can move the country forward regardless of APC/PDP whichever party they’re in.
I’ve realized there are far more to be gained with that than to be waving your flag somewhere saying I’m PDP whereas the PDP itself is not what you want it to be and you really don’t know what to do because nobody is speaking the truth out, everybody is scared. There’s no real opposition in Nigeria, the opposition comes from individuals I can name for you. People that are not even in political parties, stand up and speak the truth and enunciate the principles that we need to get our country back and these are not political persons. So I’m one of those that really don’t place too much on political parties unless of course, I’m looking for political power which is another thing entirely.
Looking for political power, I have to operate within the confines of political parties in order to achieve that because you need a platform. But for me, I’m interested in enunciating, speaking the truth. Standing up for truth, speaking against those that would seek to oppress, enslave and destroy us, create a better future for my people and that’s the most important thing for me, not APC or PDP or anything like that.
But I’m consistent in terms of my principles, values, what I stand for and what I believe in. Nobody in this country has spoken up more for Ibos than I have done over the last few years, Nobody in this country has spoken up more for middle belters more than I have in the last5 years.
Nobody in this country has spoken up for Christians more than I have done in the last 5 years and I’m very proud of that. And increasingly now very few people have spoken up as I have done for ordinary people in the core north itself that are being killed on a daily basis by Boko haram and Fulani herdsmen.
That is what I find to be important and not in any political alignment to achieve a political objective of becoming President or vice president or anything like that. That is where the real men stand and not I’m in PDP, APC, and I must stand there always, just waving a flag and pretend. I don’t do that.”
Vindication for his Actions in 2014.
We must appreciate one thing and this is taking your path and you realize what that path brings your people. They are the ones to determine whether to continue the destructive path or change course and go on another one.
I’ve been vindicated by the position I took in 2014 when PDP got involved. I went back and was completely vindicated by my position about APC where they got it really wrong because they pursued an agenda that I’m completely and absolutely against. Now even they’re beginning to retrace their steps.
The new leadership of APC today, people like Yahaya Bello, they’re moderates, decent people that are not those I’m against.
And so the lines are blurred but the most important thing is to have the courage of your conviction. To honour your core principles and what you believe in and what do I believe in? I believe in restructuring, equality of individuals, religion, people have the right to self-determination, fairness to everybody and I don’t believe in one tribe enslaving another tribe and that we should sit back and allow that happen.
Even if you create a party tomorrow, believe me, I’ll go there. I don’t think there’ll be a flared force without muscle or courage. I’ll also tell you the most important thing is for us to agree and recognize the fact that our country is in a mess now that we have to work across party lines, regional lines, ethnic lines and religious lines to make progress and I’ll give you an example of that.
Major Crisis Averted by Working across Party Lines
A few weeks ago, we almost had a major crisis in the country, just that most people didn’t know, if they did there are so many envious people not involved in settling the issue. We had a major issue and they had to go to President Buhari for seeing it as it was. Where we had a food embargo on the whole of the south by the northerners. It was a very effective embargo and it wasn’t just an embargo, there was also an imposing threat that they were gonna start killing southerners in the North if something wasn’t done and it was a very effective threat which the governor was very worried about.
What I’m saying is that’s a very good example of people working across party lines because we all came together and worked with non-politicians like Sunday Igboho, people from the North, people from the south, we came together, gave each other guarantees, Yahaya Bello left the whole thing and the matter was settled.
The embargo was lifted and we achieved something most politicians cannot achieve in their lifetime and I’m very happy and proud about that. So when people talk about us not being friends across party lines that we’re all at war with each other, I ask them, did you ever fight them the way I did, you did not, you just sat on the fence and did nothing, we fought them. The point I’m making is we must work across party lines.